OCAA silver medal ends Algonquin Wolves women’s basketball win streak

The loss against the Lambton Lions cost the previously undefeated team a chance to play in the national championship
Photo: Mike Bousfield
The Wolves women's basketball team and coaching staff pose with their their silver medals at OCAA final game in Sarnia, Ont. March 3.

After an undefeated season and a triumphant win against the St. Clair Saints in the semi-finals, the Algonquin Wolves lost the gold medal to the Lambton Lions in an intense OCAA final game in Sarnia, Ont. on March 3.

“It was an amazing experience being in the position to fight for a gold medal,” said Dasia McDonald, a Wolves guard who was named a tournament all-star after the game. “These girls are my best friends and as much as this wasn’t the outcome we wanted, I wouldn’t want to lose this game with a different group of girls.”

The Wolves and Lions were ranked first of their regions, however, the Lions had the advantage of playing on their home court. They started the game at a fast pace, getting 10 points ahead before the Wolves could find their rhythm.

The Wolves’ defence maintained their energy and attempted to slow down the fierce Lions offence throughout the game. They recovered slightly from a slow start, but still finished the first quarter behind 13 points.

The Lions started the second half with fast and aggressive offence, continuing to pose a challenge to the Wolves, who shot only 18 per cent compared to the Lions’ 55 per cent. The first half ended 50-19 for the Lions.

The Wolves did not completely recover from a difficult first half. The third quarter ended with the Lions ahead 30 points.

The final quarter quickly became the highest-scoring quarter for the Wolves, however despite the team’s valiant efforts, the intense game ended at 78-56 for the Lions.

Wolves coach Jaime McLean said two moments in the game stood out to him.

“The never-give-up spirit the team played with,” said McLean. “And being able to outscore Lambton in the second half.”

McLean said he was also impressed with Cianah Miller’s performance.

“She played with such grit and perseverance,” said McLean. “She truly earned the player of the game award as well as tournament all-star.”

Although the Wolves did not get to play at home, they were surrounded by a committed crowd of friends and family who travelled seven hours to cheer them on. The crowd wore the team colours as well as hard hats due to the tradition of giving the player of the game a hard hat at their post-game celebrations.

McDonald said the cheering from the crowd and interactions with the opposing team’s fans moved her.

“They [Wolves fans] travelled for hours to come and support us and they did not disappoint,” said McDonald. “Having the opposing team’s fans come up to you and say what an amazing player you are is another amazing feeling, because it brings the realization that all the hard work and dedication that’s put in is paying off.”

Wolves guard Cianah Miller playing offence at the semi-final game against
Wolves guard Cianah Miller goes on the offence in the semi-final game against the St. Clair Saints in Sarnia, Ont. on March 2. Photo credit: Mike Bousfield

“Even though we didn’t get the results we wanted,” said Miller, “it was still an amazing experience and opportunity for me personally and there is no other group of people I would rather experience all of it with. I am very proud of us and the things we have accomplished this season.”

McDonald has received several accolades, including her third-straight OCAA first team all-star award, her second-straight OCAA East player of the year and OCAA East defensive player of the year, according to the Algonquin Wolves web portal.

“We know the work that needs to be put in for next year so we can walk away with a gold medal and a chance to play in nationals,” said McDonald.

After the Wolves players and coaching team received silver medals, McLean said he is very proud of the team.

“This team was 16-1 over the year losing to a very hot-shooting Lambton Lions in the OCAA final,” said McLean. ” A win-loss record of 32-2 over the last two years. I could not be more proud of this phenomenal group of young women.

“This team is what coaches dream about. They play for each other over themselves. They care for their opponents and the integrity of the game,” McLean added. “They are always wanting more knowledge. Best of all they don’t want to stop playing together, so we get to go back at it again to try and make last year’s bronze and this year’s silver even more worth it pushing for gold.”

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